Today’s Passage – Romans 14 – 16

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. (Romans 14:21)

There is a lot of talk these days about liberty. As New Testament Christians we have been made free from the bondage of the law, but that does not give us license to sin; and it does not give us the right to use our liberty to cause a weaker brother in Christ to stumble and fall. We no longer have an exhaustive list of do’s and dont’s to live by (or not live by). We live by faith, but the Bible tells us that whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

In our fundamental churches across America, many things are preached against. Each church is different. Some churches are a little more separated than others are. Some have long lists of leadership (and even membership) requirements; but even these churches could not possibly completely specify what is right for every given situation. However, as believers, we have the indwelling Spirit of God, which will guide us into all truth, and help us decide what is right and what is wrong. We must remember, though, that we must take into account that what we do affects other people. Let me give you an example that I have heard many times: Let’s say that I feel that a glass of wine every now and then is acceptable (by the way, I don’t), and God would not prohibit me from drinking in moderation. I may have the liberty to do that; I mean I’m saved eternally, aren’t I? and that glass of wine may not be a problem for me.  However, what I must take into consideration that by drinking the wine, I may be influencing a younger brother in Christ the wrong way. He may not be able to handle it, it may cause him to fall away from God, and do injury to himself and others. The bottom line is that there are things that I may have the liberty to do, which may cause my brother to stumble and fall. I therefore have to understand that I have a responsibility before God to be a proper example and influence to my children, and to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

The wine example is just one of many I can think of. This principle can be applied to many areas: television, music, movies, occupations; the list goes on and on. You and I must follow the principles of the Word of God, and the leadership of the Spirit of God in every decision, so that the liberties we take do not adversely affect anyone else. No man is an island: we don’t live to ourselves; our lives are intertwined together; and we are our brother’s keeper. I am not trying to turn us into a bunch of Pharisees who spend their time micro-examining everybody else’s lives, I am merely advocating that we assume some responsibility regarding our influence on others. And the higher we are in leadership, the greater the influence we have, and the greater the responsibility we must accept.

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Meredith King
Meredith King
13 years ago

Great post on responsibility. True liberty, indeed, is giving up our rights in obedience to the Lord. The wisdom of this world can’t comprehend such an apparent contradiction in ideas. The wisdom of this world teaches us to fight for our rights, to stand up for ourselves. The law of this world makes the self the center of the universe; getting what we want seems to be freedom. In looking at Jesus’ life and teachings we can see that true freedom is spiritual, and is obtained by letting go of our “rights”. Jesus taught us that submission to God’s will is the only way to be really free; it is a freedom that does not depend on this physical world. The wisdom of God may truly seem like foolishness to man. The natural man fights for his liberty. Paul was more than a conqueror, yet he didn’t come to victory through standing up for his rights but through obedience to God.

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